New mod for truck.....or how not to clean the windshield - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Auto Detailing 101 General discussion of auto cleaning and detailing. Learn tips and tricks to keep your Ford Ranger looking its best.

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  #1  
Old 12-13-2004
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New mod for truck.....or how not to clean the windshield

Well, today the truck got a new windshield. For those that are counting, it's the fourth one for my truck. It is a long story, so bear with me.

The story really starts around April 2002, just half a year after I purchased the truck. While driving to work, a rock nailed the center of the windshield and left a good sized divot. I had just changed my insurance company, so I decided to have the damage fixed on my own dime. The tech suggested charging it to my insurance and changing the whole thing (since that's free in Florida), but I decided to just fix the damage. He did a good job, and $40 later, I was on my way. Six months later, a bigger rock cracked the glass, and the windshield was toast.

The new windshield (#2) was great, but somehow the install hadn't gone well. There was an air leak around the seal, and it made terrible wind noise. The tech came out to replace the seal and reinstall the glass, but it cracked as he tried to cut the seal bead. So... he installed windshield number three.
Number 3 lasted a good year before it recieved it's first large rock chip.
It kept performing admirabley until last month, and that's where the saga begins.

November is "flying insect" month here in Florida. (Not to be confused with July, which is crawling insect month, or May which is burrowing insect month)
I was filling up a local gas station, and decided to clean the mess off my windshield. The bugs scarped off with a minimal amount of effort, and soon I was on my way. As I drove off, I noticed three lines across my field of vision. Assuming they were just haze from the squeegee size of the windshield washer, I thought nothing of it. Two days later while cleaning the windshield again, I discovered that these were three deep cuts across the glass. Something hard and sharp had gotten dragged across while I was squeegeeing the glass, and it had literally sliced the glass open.

I tried using a scratch removal paste designed for plastic; and this actually reduced the depth of the cuts. Empowered by this experiment; I ordered a professional glass polish kit (my first mistake )
http://www.eastwood.com/shopping/pro...&keyword=glass

I had some free time on Saturday, so I decided to try my hand at windshield grinding. The polish (pink looking Silica) was mixed with water, and then applied to a wet buffing pad. I first experimented on a deep scratch in our rear patio doors, to verify that I couldn't scratch up my windshield. After my initial experiment on the house , I moved to attack the truck.
The job was slow and tedious, with minimal results during the first hour. I was actually alternating the use of the pro kit with some of my plastic polish, since the plastic stuff didn't dry out as fast. After about 2 hours, I was acually seeing some results. The lines were getting shallow (unfortunetly the grinding action also makes them a tad wider). I had figured out that the main scratch across my line of vison was reduced sufficiently, and decided to quit. There was still some polish left in my mixing bowl, so i figured "one more run" (second mistake).

I'm not sure if it was a big chunk of silca, some leftover glob of plastic polish, or a grit of sand, but something hard had found it's way to my buffing pad.
The resulting 24 inch "hairball" scratch was quite impressive. Imagine a 4 inch diamond-impregnated disk spinning across the windshield (Yeah, you get the idea). I tried the buff out this new disaster, but it only made things worse. In defeat, I quietly called the glass company, and ordered a new windshield.
They were just here at my work, and the truck now looks perfect (again)

Moral of the story. Heck I dunno. Maybe a warning the we should leave things to the professionals, or just a good tale to lighten your day. I did manage to get 90% of the orginal scratch out though, which is pretty good :)

Last edited by SilverTank; 12-13-2004 at 08:16 PM.
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Old 12-13-2004
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George, that sounds like a story I could have ended up telling. If you are a do-it-yourself type, or an experimental type: eventually some experiment is going to go horribly wrong.

I'll still keep trying though! Sorry you had that happen but I think it was worth a try and for sure I might have tried it as well.

Glad you've got a good windshield again!
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Old 12-13-2004
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might i suggest a bug defelctor...

that sucks, i cant imagine goin thru that many windsheilds in 20 years
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Old 12-13-2004
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Told in a very manly fashion, for which I am proud. Mainly the "I did manage to get 90% of the orginal scratch out though, which is pretty good". Always look at the good you did.
You get an A for effort and that is admirable. As I was reading I was thinking "please don't let the glass shatter during his attempt and litter the truck with glass." So glad that didn't happen. Thanx for the tale :)
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  #5  
Old 12-13-2004
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ok kids, today's lesson is.......


dont drive down rocky roads and avoid all bugs and dirty squeegies...
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  #6  
Old 12-13-2004
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And people from Poland. I'm sure he said something in there about the Polish, but I'm not sure...
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  #7  
Old 12-13-2004
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Ha! Sound vaugely like my father. He commutes a lot (~30-40k/year) and goes through windsheilds like he does tires. He's on his 4th or 5th on his subie, which 'only' has 120k miles on it! He budgets a windsheild a year in as part of his 'commuting' expenses. This is part of why I like living so close to work (I walked today!).
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  #8  
Old 12-13-2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n3elz
And people from Poland. I'm sure he said something in there about the Polish, but I'm not sure...
I'm Czech myself, but my country is close enough to Poland that I should know not to polish anything. If there's a way to mess something up, I'll find it.

Thanks for the kind words guys. It wasn't such a bad thing, as the windshield already had numerous chips and scratches. It was also a good learning experience (ie. I learned never to try that again )

My next trick will be to polish the front calipers. Anybody want to talk me out of it?
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  #9  
Old 12-13-2004
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Well, don't use the squeegee on them, that's for sure! :p
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  #10  
Old 12-13-2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n3elz
Well, don't use the squeegee on them, that's for sure! :p
No squeegee for them. I got me a real pro-fessional polish kit for the job. They will either turn out nice and shiney, or I'll paint em black.
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  #11  
Old 12-13-2004
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How much does a new window cost? I need one...lol


That sucks, 4, damnit!
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Old 12-13-2004
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I have hear of painting the calipers but never polishing them.....
Damn safety glass windsheilds - there is a layer of plastic on both sides.
I guess they thinned them out so much tempered glass could no longer be used or was too fragile at this thickness.
Damn fuel efficency....
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  #13  
Old 12-13-2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FoMoCoEdge
How much does a new window cost? I need one...lol


That sucks, 4, damnit!
$216, and they came out to my workplace. Probably $20 cheaper if you bring it to their shop. Not too bad, since the windshield is brand new (you can't cut them out without breaking them)
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  #14  
Old 12-13-2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LILBLUE04FX4L2
I have hear of painting the calipers but never polishing them.....
Damn safety glass windsheilds - there is a layer of plastic on both sides.
I guess they thinned them out so much tempered glass could no longer be used or was too fragile at this thickness.
Damn fuel efficency....
I polished the calipers on my old Eclipse, and they came out quite nice. It beats painting them, since the polish keeps the brake dust off. Just takes some time with a buffer. It's about a two six-pack job.
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Old 12-13-2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverTank
It's about a two six-pack job.
excellent way to measure time on tedious jobs :D
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  #16  
Old 12-13-2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LILBLUE04FX4L2
Damn safety glass windsheilds - there is a layer of plastic on both sides. I guess they thinned them out so much tempered glass could no longer be used or was too fragile at this thickness.
Damn fuel efficency....
Tempered safety glass is hardened and is 5~10 stronger than ordinary glass. It doesn't break into shards like common window glass. Instead, it breaks into little pebble-like pieces, with less dangerous sharp edges. In the U.S. and many other markets, it is required by law in the side and rear windows of automobiles.

Laminated safety glass has two outer layers of glass with a layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) between them. It is required by law in windshields instead of tempered safety glass. The tough plastic bonded between the two glass layers helps to reduce flying glass injuries by retaining the sharp shards. Most importantly, damaged laminated safety glass remains in place and more transparent than tempered safety glass. A flying rock could turn a tempered glass windshield into a hail of glass pellets or become a total vision barrier for the driver.
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  #17  
Old 12-13-2004
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Haha, november is flying bug month, couldnt agree more, but during a hot may night, ill have my truck clean, go over a bridge and have like 400 bugs hit me at once...its happened several times, gotta love florida
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  #18  
Old 12-13-2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwenzing
Tempered safety glass is hardened and is 5~10 stronger than ordinary glass. It doesn't break into shards like common window glass. Instead, it breaks into little pebble-like pieces, with less dangerous sharp edges.
Got to see this in person. Some yahoo(s) was going around smashing windows in the area. GF and I got home from a shopping excursion to find a neighbors nice new Mercedes SUV w/ a smashed in rear window! Lotsa little peices of glass everywhere.. Aren't people wonderful?!
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  #19  
Old 12-14-2004
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Sorry to hear about your problems with all of those windsheilds... sucks dude.

I'm due for one now...

2 bubbles
1 crack (getting bigger by the month)
1 star shaped
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  #20  
Old 12-14-2004
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I hate windshields too! I had a bug problem...a Bugflector II fixed that. However, I still have the pits from four years of gravel roads and Durham roads. The pits were bad, but nothing compared to this **** that got on the truck after I parked under some tree. This tree put droplets of sap or something all over it, and they are hard as hell to get off!!! I used soft cloths to clean it, but no luck...the sap was still there. So I moved up to a more abrasive sponge and now I have these lines all over my windshield! They are annoying, but I'm broke, so I'll just drive through more construction zones and hope for a rock chip so that I can get it done for free.
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  #21  
Old 12-14-2004
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Speaking of flying bugs, I bought* some Prestone "Bug removing" washer fluid, and whenever I use the washer it smells like cleaning chemicals through the vents. :(

(* Ok, I didn't buy it, my former roommate left it in the garage when he moved out.)
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  #22  
Old 12-14-2004
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No wonder he left it there, lol.
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  #23  
Old 12-14-2004
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I had a similar thing happen. I work at a Ford dealership and one of our porters thought it would be funny to smear mud all over every piece of glass on my little 01 ZX2 that I had. Joke was on him cuz he admitted to doing it and he scratched every bit of glass on that car due to the sand and gravel in the mud. Instead of taking him to court...I got the dealership to give me an extra $2,000( bout what it would cost to replace all the glass) toward a trade. Now I have a 2005 Focus ST and my 2004 FX4 level II. But before they decided they would need to replace the glass, they had a professional window person come out and buff all the glass but I could still see all the scratches even though not near as bad as before. But since I didn't screw up the glass I wasn't going to tolerate it being on my car. I threw an absolute fit and ripped into the General Manager stating that I wouldnt accept any scratches in the glass or the 2 small paint scratches in the roof. But we made a compromise so that I was happy :-)
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  #24  
Old 12-14-2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Level 2
But before they decided they would need to replace the glass, they had a professional window person come out and buff all the glass but I could still see all the scratches even though not near as bad as before.
From my recent experiance, the scratches will never really disappear. The grinding action will cause the abrasive to lodge in the crevice, and the scratch will actually become wider as it gets less deep.

Also since the process removes glass, there will be some visual distorsion. They say scratches which you can feel with your fingernail are virtually impossible to remove without distorting the glass.

Another neat trick is that the heat from buffing will cause the plastic layer in between the glass to melt and distort. Mine did that in one spot, but the surrounding glass absorbed the heat before the plastic melted. I had a blue/black spot for about 3 seconds which faded. I almost filled my pants when that happened :p
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  #25  
Old 12-15-2004
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My truck came stock with a rock chip on the front windsheld.
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